The ride began at the city park in Eureka. The purpose was to find a trail on the Prospector Trail System for the ATV club’s first ride of the year. The mild winter made this possible in February.
As the leader of this first ride, I am supposed to have ridden the trail so I know where to go on the actual ride.
Mistakes made on these exploratory rides are easily forgiven because everyone knows you don’t know where you are going. They do however expect to end up back where we started.
We rode out of the city park and took the Knightville Road south. Passing through Burriston Canyon, we took a wrong turn on the Silver Pass Road and found ourselves at Highway 6 headed east.
Backtracking, we took the Silver Pass Road toward the south. When that trail turned west, we turned south again at Ruby Canyon.
My Polaris Ace was running rough at this point and it wasn’t long before it completely shut down. This is the main reason to never ride alone. We had just passed Horseshoe Hill — it would have been a long walk back.
Fortunately, Nick Faulkner of Layton Cycle was with me on this ride. We found the right tools among the others who were with us and he got me going again. A battery connection had come loose from my attempt to mount a light bar on the Ace.
Rule No. 23 in the ride leader’s handbook: “Don’t let your machine break down when leading a ride.” Actually, I don’t know if it is No. 23; I made that up. It is just a good idea.
The trail turned east and we tried to take a trail up Rattlesnake Peak. However, that trail became so deeply rutted that it didn’t make sense to continue. The track had also turned muddy and I wanted to get away from that.
Tracing our route on a map later, I realized that the rutting was caused by an intermittent stream. The trail would have dead-ended anyway.
Backtracking again, the trail had turned north and we stopped for lunch at the base of Buckhorn Mountain. The view of the valley made this a good place to stop.
It was at this stop that the whole nature of the ride changed. Brian Gale approached me and pointed out on his GPS that one of Porter Rockwell’s cabins was just across Highway 6. Being a history buff, it sounded like a good idea to me.
Finishing our lunch, we headed west on a new adventure. I had forgotten that perspective is everything. “It is only this far on the map,” is a statement I have heard many times. Had I checked the distance on my GPS, I may have thought twice about making that a destination. But I didn’t think twice; we were on an adventure.
Crossing the highway at Copperopolis Creek, we followed the Union Pacific Railroad to Jericho, where we crossed the tracks and headed west. The trail ran right next to the border of the Little Sahara National Recreation Area — the largest sand dunes in Utah. Typical of sandy trails, we had our ups and downs riding the whoops in the track — way too many ups and downs.
The Rockwell Ranch is on the northwest corner of the Little Sahara sand dunes. While it wasn’t much to see because nothing has been done to preserve it, I was interested in seeing it because of its historical significance.
Making our way back, we took the Jericho Callao Road to the railroad crossing and headed back to Eureka, finishing a ride of about 92 miles. It was a great ride through some varied and beautiful country and it is suitable for ATVs and UTVs.
Our decision to go to the ranch, however, added at least 45 miles to the ride. My purpose was to find a track on the Prospector Trail to lead a ride. While part of the ride was on the Prospector, most of it was in the East Tintic Mountains and longer than I expected.
Oh well. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and enjoy these trails.
You can email Lynn Blamires at email@example.com.